Underwear has become more fashionable these days, although it is something worn inside. It probably started with colonial invasions and Victorian prudishness. Later on the missionaries would have put their own spin, unable to reconcile the simple joys and exuberance that they encountered in the tropics, with their dour world view.
A boxer brief from Jockey, or from a local company can cost between 350 to 400 rupees ($6 to $7). That’s quite expensive, one can pick a shirt or sometimes pants for that price. Just a few decades back, most boys even in city schools didn’t wear any underwear. In hot climate, especially in southern India, it didn’t make sense. But now western culture has taken over, and even children in first grade (first standard) in so-called international schools, wear full coat-suit and tie. Right to education probably demands that there be a certain area of concrete space per child. Gone are schools in open spaces, under trees, rooms with mud walls, and thatched roofs, or even tiled roofs. Five years back, I’ve seen rural children walking or taking the bus to school, barefoot. Today they wear sandals. One madness yet to take over children in government schools is shoes. A very stupid thing for children, or adults in tropical climates.
Anyway, getting back to underwear, there are several types, but we’ll concern ourselves with the material – either knitted cotton, or regular cotton cloth. Knitted cotton breathes less, is made to fit more tight, and is likelier to cause fungal infections. Boxer type with regular cotton cloth, is somewhat looser fitting, and better suited to the climate. The knitted ones are cheaper, about 100 to 150 rupees, and the boxers are 3 to 4 times more expensive.
It is possible to find print rejects, and what is called as bit-pieces, left-over cloth too small to be sold, for about 15 rupees. Usually the size is about half a meter, more or less. This is fairly decent cotton, sometimes given a satin finish. If one has a sewing machine, then it is cheaper to stitch the boxer briefs. You need to buy one to be used as reference. Need 4 pieces, in two different shapes. Stitch them together, put the elastic for the waist, and you are done. Cost would be around 30 to 40 rupees. 15 rupees for cloth, 15 for elastic, and 10 rupees max for thread. Could be cheaper, if you manage to stitch 2 with one piece of cloth.
It was my first time on the sewing machine, and in a couple of hours, with a little help from my wife, the boxers were ready. Since the ready made one has a tolerance on waist size of about 2-3 inches, it is likely to be tight, if your waist size is on the higher end. I could put the right size elastic to suit my waist. Of course the finish is not professional. The elastic instead of being stretched and stitched, is just threaded in. Yet like the store bought one, it will last for a long time, being decent quality cotton.
Make sure you stitch the inside of the leg as one continuous stitch. And check the fit by lifting your leg up to your forehead. Without patterns, and with no prior experience, I could get a more perfect fit than the store bought one.
Speaking of cotton, there is lots of fraud. Most cloth have polyester mix. Some stores sell children’s clothes in polyester, at the price of silk. One way is to look at the fibers under a microscope. A stereo microscope would be a better option, but a compound will work too.
Cotton has all the imperfections that comes from being a plant fiber.
Polyester looks perfect, like a glass tube. Wool looks uniform, but if you look closely, there are markings on it.
Hard to make out in the photos here. Also, I believe high quality cotton would be more uniform than what is seen here. But India lost high quality fibers with the Bt cotton revolution.
We didn’t get much from Ungardening, partly because the seeds are heavily hybridized or otherwise weakened through mutation breeding. Still can’t understand what radiation-induced mutation breeding is supposed to achieve. Apparently Darwin came up with a theory that living things evolved through selection of the fittest. Once we understood that DNA is the template for life, we found a mechanism to bombard it with gamma rays, create variation, and then used Darwin’s survival of the fittest, to find crops with desirable characteristics, including strangely, drought tolerance. Of course, we are not supposed to see the ugly misshapen plants that barely germinated. Or those that got aborted even before germination. With mild radiation, we would see the plants producing different color flowers, or flowers with streaks. Or may be thicker skinned fruits. But beyond that, to be able to create crops with desirable characteristics, seems more like a dubious fairy tale. Heard that there were several farmers waiting for BARC (Bhaba Atomic Research Centre) to release their groundnut cultivar bred through irradiation. Some farmers, to believe in such idiocy.
Here’s the orange pumpkin, that flowered profusely, and attracted lots of honey bees.
The lab lab produced less than 100 grams of seeds, there were only 2 plants. Okra, of dubious lineage, but sold as a traditional, open pollinated variety, just a few pods. Sunflowers once again were hybridized seeds. But the bigger one produced seeds that were fully filled in.
Diffuser for the bio-sand filter.
A swallow that found temporary refuge on top of an electric lamp. It was in a deep sleep, that my son was able to touch and photograph from very close. The photo here was from further away, since the photos on the other camera turned out not very clear.
All the plant material, the roots, leaves, and stems, are back in the soil. A little manure, and some rains, the increased “edge” from all the organic matter, should give us better yields. If only we can get genuine seeds, not the ones from licensed companies, that conform to the seed control act, and have the genetic purity and germination rate printed on them. Not those, we need ones that farmers have cultivated for generations, that depend on the sun, rain, wind, and microbial life to grow. That doesn’t like chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The seeds I got were from Bangalore, but over the last several years, I’ve seen increasing corruption by these seed savers, who claim to save traditional varieties. If you are a simple minded farmer, then the big seed companies will steal your seeds through deceit, and pollute any remaining seeds through hybridization. Farmers have to understand modern deceit. Agricultural universities, and regulators have their own agenda.
We got “honey” from a khadi store with Agmark seal. It strangely crystallized, even when kept outside the fridge. I’ve seen honey from the north crystallizing, but not this quick. I decided to check under the microscope, and saw just a handful of pollen in a big drop. So this has some real honey mixed in. But either the bees were fed sugar water, or invert syrup, or honey was mixed in with lots of invert syrup.
The old “honey”, which was just invert syrup sold by a guy who claimed it was “kombu thein” had fully crystallized long back (Honey during times of great GDP growth).
The fact that we are breaking down things and calling them as “breeding a better variety”, means that much of science is questionable. The smart phones, cars, and aircraft all look like obvious improvements. But smart phones other can being expensive notebooks to maintain to-do lists, have created psychological and emotional damage. Buffoons in order to make a little more money, want to push tablets, and computers for education at a very early age. We can expect more damage from the digital economy, cashless economy, biometric surveillance, genetically modified crops, and smart cities. “Democratic” nations find it easier to push such things, with a few compromised or characterless individuals at key places, who of course are paraded as emperors, capable of “bold” decisions. Peoples intelligence and judgement are only good enough to vote in elections, everything else has to be governed from top-down, in a parody of minimal government and maximal governance. Why don’t we take the election part away too, and let the likes of Bill Gates or Soros “elect” the leaders. After all they have a hand in pushing cashless economy or various other demented ideas – http://norberthaering.de/en/home/27-german/news/745-washington-s-role-in-india.
USA that worshiped the FDA, USDA, CDC, and EPA, and could redirect wealth from unfortunate nations, to its shores, using its military, ended up in ugly obesity, gender confusion, cancer, depression, violence, mindless surveillance, and excessive abuse of prescriptions. Other developing countries will end up much worse, when people are forced into the bestest solutions determined by USAID, UN, WHO or other hidden elites.
Modern mental illness that can be traced to an overdose of technology, can lead to unexpected breakdowns. It pays to be cautious about society, herded into narrow technology dominated paths, for the benefit of a few. Technology is less of a problem, if people and communities get to pick and choose or even avoid technology. But today a few individuals acting at the behest of phoren folks are enforcing technology use through intimidation and the threat of “law”. While the media is forced to claim that bold decisions are made on behalf of the poor. Which, is interesting, to say the least. If only we could crawl into our underwear, and escape the onslaught of insanity!